How Do Patients Feel About Being Asked to Donate to Hospitals? Interview with:

Dr. Jagsi

Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil.
Newman Family Professor and Deputy Chair
Department of Radiation Oncology
Director of the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine
University of Michigan What is the background for this study?

Response: Hospitals and health care institutions often rely on philanthropy for support to be able to pursue their missions to serve the public health. Little is known about public perspectives, which are needed to inform ethical guidelines. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We surveyed members of an online panel to elicit perspectives on the acceptability of strategies hospitals may use to identify, solicit, and thank donors; perceptions of the effect of physicians discussing donations with their patients; and opinions regarding gift use and stewardship.

A substantial proportion of our respondents did not endorse legally allowable approaches for identifying, engaging, and thanking patient-donors.  This information should be considered by institutions and professional organizations to specify ethical guidance. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future research should investigate the extent to which different strategies for encouraging philanthropy are actually employed in various settings.  Further research using approaches like deliberative democracy may be helpful to extend this work, given the complexity of the policy considerations involved.  Research in other countries would also be informative, as the need to support health care institutions with philanthropy is universal, but the approaches considered acceptable might differ in different cultures. 

Any disclosures?

This study was funded by a grant from the Greenwall Foundation.


Jagsi R, Griffith KA, Carrese JA, et al. Public Attitudes Regarding Hospitals and Physicians Encouraging Donations From Grateful Patients. JAMA. 2020;324(3):270–278. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.9442


Jul 22, 2020 @ 9:09 pm 

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